Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally Potter (Ginger & Rosa) with lacerating irony and such a furious sense of humour that it's impossible to stifle our laughter no matter how we try. Impeccably played by a great cast, it's a lot like watching a play, as it unfolds in real time in a single setting with just seven characters. But Potter's decision to film it in black and white adds a sharp edge of surrealism that makes it also feel like a classic.
It opens as Janet (Kristin Scott Thomas) is preparing for a small dinner party to celebrate her appointment as a government minister. With something else on his mind, her husband Bill (Timothy Spall) is completely drunk before the first guest arrives, but Janet doesn't really notice. Her outspoken best friend April (Patricia Clarkson) turns up first with her German philosopher boyfriend Gottfried (Bruno Ganz). Next is feminist professor Martha (Cherry Jones) and her younger girlfriend Jinny (Emily Mortimer), who is pregnant with triplets. And finally it's the banker Tom (Cillian Murphy), hopped up on cocaine with a gun in his pocket. His wife is running late. And over the next hour, everyone lets a few secrets out of the bag.
Continue reading: The Party Review
Britain's epic 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk has been dramatised on film before, but no one has taken an approach like Christopher Nolan. Not that this is a surprise, since Nolan has made a career of fiercely inventive filmmaking. But this might be his masterpiece: a relatively simple story told with creative verve, relentlessly growing intensity, emotional resonance and the weight of history.
He recounts the events on three timelines. Over the course of a week, young soldier Tommy (rising star Fionn Whitehead) finds himself on the beach at Dunkirk amid 400,000 soldiers hemmed in from behind by the Germans and looking for some way to get across the Channel to England. But every ship he finds is sunk in front of him, or under him, as German pilots drop bombs from the sky. Meanwhile over the course of one day, English yachtsman Dawson (Mark Rylance) and his sons (Tom Glynn-Carney and Barry Keoghan) head off to do what they can as part of an armada of small civilian boats. And in the sky above over the course of an hour, spitfire pilot Farrier (Tom Hardy) engages the Luftwaffe in a series of aerial battles.
Nolan skilfully edits these three time-strands together into a narrative that continually loops back on itself, showing events from different angles. It sometimes feels a bit repetitive, but that's the point, and the result is increasingly resonant as it recounts the events from three internal perspectives. In the focal roles, Whitehead, Rylance and Hardy offer distinct angles on heroism and survival. These are powerfully engaging performances that reveal men merely doing what they can in seemingly impossible situations.
Continue reading: Dunkirk Review
It's 1940 and World War II is in full swing. Allied soldiers from Britain, Belgium, Canada and France at stationed at Dunkirk ready to pull France from the grip of the Germans. However, they soon discover that they are completely surrounded by enemy forces who have them so trapped that they no longer have use for tanks. Confined in the open space of the Dunkirk beaches with nowhere left to hide and definitely nowhere to run, the soldiers face almost certain death as the air strikes begin. Their only hope is to sail across the English Channel to safety, but with enemy planes showing no mercy their survival will be miraculous. But these are allied forces aren't about to surrender, no matter what happens. Their courage and determination is about to save more than 300,000 men.
Continue: Dunkirk - Trailer and Featurette
In one of the biggest military disasters in British history, 400,000 soldiers found themselves stranded on the beaches of Dunkirk in France in 1940 in the midst of World War II. Their journey was about releasing the allied France from the grip of the Germans, but when they find themselves surrounded by enemy forces, with nowhere left to hide their options become limited. Determined not to surrender to the Nazis, an incredible emergency evacuation begins as bomb after bomb is dropped on the fleeing men. The Royal Air Force and British Navy vessels rush to the aid of their trapped troops, as well as boats from brave civilians, and together they manage to save over 300,000 men from the terrifying attack in Operation Dynamo.
Continue: Dunkirk Trailer
Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley (High-Rise) is using a group of wildly offbeat characters to play a hilarious riff on Tarantino-style dialogue and violence. So while there's not much to it, the actors have plenty of grist to bring their roles to life. Which makes the film funny and intense all the way through, even if there's no emotional connection at all.
The entire film is set in a warehouse in 1978 Boston, where Justine (Brie Larson), Chris (Cillian Murphy) and Frank (Michael Smiley) have gone with their drivers Stevo and Bernie (Jack Reynor and Enzo Cilenti) to buy a cache of guns from the swaggering Ord (Armie Hammer) and his mercurial arms dealer Vernon (Sharlto Copley), who has brought ex-Black Panther Martin (Babou Ceesay) as some muscle, plus bickering drivers Harry and Gordon (Jack Reynor and Noah Taylor). All of them greet each other tensely, but they make the deal with a bit of offhanded banter and wary respect. But just as they're all getting ready to leave, Stevo and Harry spot each other. And both are still feeling wounded after the nasty encounter they had last night.
What follows is an explosion of utterly pointless violence. All of these people are nervous and trigger-happy, so it doesn't take much to set them off. The carnage that follows isn't like most movies, because people don't get shot and just lie on the ground; they crawl off injured, regroup and rejoin the fray. Alliances shift, and every moment of panic leads to even more chaos. And right in the middle, there's a bag of cash and a crate of rifles that everyone has an eye on. Wheatley stages this in real-time, with a steady flow of jaggedly witty conversation between the gunshots and constant sight-gags in the action mayhem.
Continue reading: Free Fire Review
Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943 Prague to assassinate a top Nazi official. Certainly the material is perfect for a big-screen thriller, and filmmaker Sean Ellis (Metro Manila) has filmed it with a documentary-style urgency that's edgy and exciting. He also has a sharp attention to detail, so the film is bracingly realistic, carrying a strong emotional kick in the final act.
In 1938, Western Europe's leaders handed Czechoslovakia over to Hitler when he promised not to start a war. But of course he invaded Poland the following year. So in 1941, the British military parachutes a team of Czech exiles back into their country to help the resistance. Two of these men, Jan and Josef (Jamie Dornan and Cillian Murphy), are on a secret mission to kill Reinhard Heydrich, the third in Nazi command after Hitler and Himmler. Known as the Butcher of Prague for his ruthless methods, it was Heydrich who devised the plan to exterminate the Jews. The resistance leader (Toby Jones) offers assistance for this mission, while two young women (Charlotte Le Bon and Anna Geislerova) pose as Jan and Josef's girlfriends. But with heavy security around Heydrich, carrying this off is not going to be easy.
Ellis impressively manages to tell this story without present-day hindsight, seeing all sides of the situation from the perspective of the people involved. In other words, it's not just a matter of killing a historical villain: everyone knows that the repercussions of such an act would be horrific as the Nazis exacted brutal revenge. But they also knew that, within this small window of time, they had a chance to deliver a serious blow to the enemy. Ellis structures this carefully, building up to the assassination in a way that develops almost unbearable levels of suspense. The complexity of each scene is remarkable, and the film's final act is a stunning explosion of desperate violence.
Continue reading: Anthropoid Review
The One Direction singer will make his acting debut in the Christopher Nolan drama.
If anyone thought that Harry Styles was cast in Christopher Nolan’s upcoming Dunkirk because of his star power rather than his acting skills, then you might be about to be proved wrong. Styles’ co-star in the film, Cillian Murphy, has come out in praise of the singer-turned-actor, saying he’ll be ‘terrific’ in the role.
Cillian Murphy thinks Harry Styles will be ‘terrific’ in Dunkirk
Speaking to the Radio Times Murphy said: "Harry Styles is great. I had very few scenes with Harry but we got to hang out and I've got to say he's a great, great kid, and really, really funny.”
Continue reading: Cillian Murphy Praises 'Dunkirk' Co-Star Harry Styles' Acting Skills
But neither are Tom Hardy Mark Rylance, James D'Arcy, Kenneth Branagh and Cillian Murphy.
On Friday the first trailer for Christopher Nolan’s upcoming WWII epic Dunkirk dropped, showing us our first glimpses of the Dark Knight director’s first film since 2014’s Interstellar. But for some, Dunkirk is about something else entirely, because the film features the acting debut of One Direction’s Harry Styles.
Harry Styles filming Dunkirk
As usual when anything vaguely One Direction-y happens, their army of fans were out in force on social media and on Friday they weren’t happy. After being teased with photos of Harry and his new short hair filming scenes from the movie, the heartthrob was nowhere to be found in the just under a minute long trailer.
Continue reading: Sorry Guys But Harry Styles Is Not In The First 'Dunkirk' Trailer
'Dunkirk' is slated for a July 21st, 2017 release, and features an impressive and growing cast list.
Esteemed filmmaker Christopher Nolan has confirmed more additions to the cast list for his upcoming epic Dunkirk, adding ‘Peaky Blinders’ stars Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy as well as One Direction’s Harry Styles to the project.
Nolan has already begun filming the World War II action thriller in the village of Dunkirk in France, the site of the massive military evacuation that signalled the end of Britain’s initial attempt to repel Nazi Germany in France. Filming will also take place in Holland and Los Angeles.
The three actors join Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh and Fionn Whitehead. The ensemble cast also includes Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy, Jack Lowden and Barry Keoghan.
Expectations are a problem with this year's Secret Cinema event. After the jaw-dropping, goosebump-inducing surprises of both 2014's Back to the Future and 2015's Star Wars, this immersive take on Danny Boyle's classic zombie movie feels rather undercooked. But there's a lot of fun to be had (if not many scares) spending several hours trying to survive in a world overrun by the undead.
The set-up is very clever: you are given an appointment at an NSH hospital in a secret London location, and told to wear scrubs or protective clothing. On arrival you're handed a surgical mask and ordered here and there for interviews, physical examinations and eventually an oral vaccination that seems to make everything go blurry and then pitch black. When you "wake up" all hell has broken loose, and you are sent running through a series of blood-drenched corridors and stairwells, encountering characters and settings from the film as zombies lunge from every corner. In the safe zone, food and drink is for sale, and you get a chance to relax a bit, play a game, have a dance. Finally, you're led into an inventively themed cinema to watch the 2002 film as on-screen elements are performed around you.
Through all of this, medical and military officials harshly shout instructions at you, while TV screens show news reports of chaos on the streets. Combined with the dimly lit post-apocalyptic setting, the atmosphere is enjoyably claustrophobic, only broken by the nagging sense that money is draining out of your wallet at an alarming rate. Not only is the ticket £67 (or £134 for a "premium experience"), but there are things to buy at every point, from the scrubs or coveralls to pricey cocktails served in small bottles or coffee mugs and a relatively slim selection of restaurant-priced food options.
Continue reading: Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later Review
Date of birth
25th May, 1976
Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...
Britain's epic 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk has been dramatised on film before, but no one...
It's 1940 and World War II is in full swing. Allied soldiers from Britain, Belgium,...
In one of the biggest military disasters in British history, 400,000 soldiers found themselves stranded...
Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...
It's 1978 Boston and an unlikely gang made up of Justine (Brie Larson), Stevo (Sam...
Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...
Reinhard Heydrich was one of the fiercest anti-Semitic officers in the Nazi army. He authored...
Expectations are a problem with this year's Secret Cinema event. After the jaw-dropping, goosebump-inducing surprises...
With a huge budget and a relatively small story, this is an intriguingly offbeat blockbuster...
In The Heart Of The Sea is the true seaman's tale based on the last...
In August of 1819, The Essex set sail from New England. The whaling ship set...
Far too slow-paced to work as a thriller and too shallow to properly challenge us...